ALBUM REVIEW: Hippo Campus’ ‘Bambi’

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WRITTEN BY: McKenzie Morgan

Bambi, the well anticipated second album from the alternative indie band, Hippo Campus, has finally arrived September 28th and has swept fans off of their feet. While a completely different vibe than their previous album, Landmark, there is no doubt that “Bambi” will hook onto the fans all the same.

Hailing from St. Paul, Minnesota, Hippo Campus is a five piece indie rock band comprised of Jake Luppen, Nathan Stocker, Zach Sutton, Whistler Allen, and DeCarlo Jackson. They released their first full studio album, Landmark, in 2017 which led to Hippo Campus becoming an overnight success. Landmark was the perfect blend of a new indie and classic indie sounds, making it different but still likable. The album produced the indie rock hits “Way it Goes” and “Buttercup” and put them on the map.

With such a successful first album, most new bands struggle with producing another big hit. With Bambi, the Minnesota quinet came back even harder. Each song on the album is completely different and plays with different sounds, seeing how far they can push their limits. Along with the members themselves, their sound matured, although the new style is experimental.

The new albums sound was quite the unexpected as the band stepped out of their comfort zones and into a whole different side of the indie genre. Previously playing with classic alternative- indie sounds, this album explores the more pop side of the genre. They decided to ditch the catchy guitar riffs and replace them with even catchier synth hooks.

The album opens with the atmospheric track “Mistakes”. The song has ambient synths and is accompanied by Luppen’s harmonious and angelic vocals. Although it might confuse the audience at first, the song acts as a precedent for the new sound that they’re about to deliver.

Released as the teasing single on June 12, the song “Passengers” is a top favorite. The song opens with Luppen’s powerful vocals and explores themes youth, love, and self discovery. The single has subtle synths and trumpets, and percussion. The music perfectly matches the vocal melodies, hitting the audiences.

Another favorite and the main hit off of the album is the title track “Bambi”, also released prior to the album on August 22. “Bambi” opens with a quirky and fun synth riff and melodious vocal hooks that will be stuck in your head. The song delves into anxiety and insecurities, making it perfectly relatable to all of us soul searching.

“Why Even Try” opens with acoustic riff and as the song begins to kick in, the band brings back those old electric guitar tones. The track “Honestly” has a similar vibe with the classic Hippo Campus lo-fi vocals and dancy guitar sounds. These tracks are the perfect blend of Landmark and their new sound, not letting us forget where they came from.

Bambi is deeper and more perceptive, both lyrically and musically, than the bands previous releases. The album was partly influenced by their philanthropy. Their largely female fan base inspired them to get involved with the #metoo Movement and they worked directly with the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, donating profits from their shows and merchandise.

The boys of Hippo Campus are wonderfully weird, just like their music. They’re known to produce songs that are perfect for driving with the windows down to. While eccentric and playful, Bambi takes us on a more reflective and insightful journey while still producing catchy hits. This album will mean more to audiences than just another radio hit to sing along to. The Hippo Campus has successfully proven to fans that they’re expansive, ever-changing, and are going to continue to wow us.



  1. Mistakes
  2. Anxious
  3. Doubt
  4. Bambi
  5. Why Even Try
  6. Think it Over
  7. Bubbles
  8. Honestly
  9. Golden
  10. Passenger

Check out Hippo Campus on their tour: